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Dollar mixed in Asia amid Obama tour

TOKYO--The dollar was mixed against the yen and euro in Asia on Wednesday, with traders looking for developments in U.S.-Japan free trade talks as President Barack Obama arrives in Tokyo for the start of an Asian tour.

In afternoon trade, the greenback changed hands at 102.61, little changed from 102.60 yen in New York Tuesday afternoon, while the euro rose to US$1.3835 and 141.97 yen, from US$1.3804 and 141.65 yen.

Akira Moroga, manager of forex product group of Aozora Bank, said with Obama due in Tokyo later Wednesday investors will be keeping an eye on signs of progress in the vast Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact.

Work on the proposed deal has stalled recently, with Washington and Tokyo at loggerheads over tariffs on Japanese agricultural products. Any signs of progress could help boost the Nikkei and stoke yen selling, Moroga said.

In other trading, the Australian dollar fell to 93.21 U.S. cents from 93.75 cents after data showed Australian inflation was lower than expected in the first three months of the year. The figures raise the possibility the country's central bank will lower interest rates to boost the faltering economy.

China's yuan currency extended its downtrend against the dollar to hit a 16-month low, falling to 6.2458 against the dollar in the morning, its weakest level since December 2012.

The yuan has fallen repeatedly in recent months, with many dealers believing the depreciation is a deliberate move by the central bank to target speculative funds betting on continued rises. But traders have also blamed the slowing economy as a crucial factor.

The dollar advanced to 44.63 Philippine pesos from 44.50 pesos on Tuesday, to SG$1.2577 from SG$1.2544, and to 11,655.00 Indonesian rupiah from 11,513.80 rupiah.

The greenback also rose 1,039.45 South Korean won from 1,038.60 won and to 32.38 Thai baht from 32.32 baht.

The Chinese yuan fetched 16.42 yen against 16.44 yen.

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